Living by yourself can be more expensive due to unexpected, hidden costs. Whether it’s spending money on ways to deal with loneliness and boredom, or spending more money for renting an apartment, the costs of living alone can skyrocket if you’re not careful. Here are 4 expenses you should work hard to keep under control:
When you’re living by yourself, it can be tempting to indulge in excessive entertainment as a means to overcome loneliness. Before you know it, movie tickets, satellite television subscriptions, music CDs and computer game purchases can add up and thwart your efforts to save money. You may want to reward yourself if you work hard or are attending school, but spending a lot of money on entertainment is not the wisest way to spend your hard earned money. Even free sources of entertainment can result in too much time spent watching television or online, which can drastically reduce your productivity or ability to build relationships with others. Examine your budget in the area of entertainment and find ways to trim both monetary and time costs spent on this category.
2. Eating Out
A close cousin to entertainment, eating out is another popular thing to do in order to cope with living by yourself. It’s often seen as a way to socialize, and some have even suggested that you can save money eating out versus cooking at home. The truth is, the best way to save money is to learn to cook your own healthy, nutritious meals at home. A great way to handle concerns about socializing is to practice hospitality. Invite co-workers or students that you’re going to school with over for a meal. If the idea of cooking a full meal intimidates you, start with tea and desserts or a snack. You can save more than 50% on your food bill by eating at home, rather than going to restaurants two to five times per week (or even more). By the time you pay for gas and tips, you could be throwing money out the window by eating out so much.
3. Higher Rent
Living by yourself means you can afford to rent a more expensive apartment, if you’re working and can afford it. However, this is often not necessary, and you could save money by downsizing to a cheaper apartment. You might justify the higher rent amount because the apartment is closer to your job, or because you may not have the opportunity to live in luxury down the road. Save the money now, and worry about what apartment you can or can’t afford down the road.
4. Fuel Costs
When you’re living by yourself, you are responsible for all of the auto fuel costs. A roommate can often offset this cost, because you can carpool to many places together. For example, you can drive together to school or to work and split the cost of the gas in half. The more roommates you have, the less you have to spend. While that’s not a reason to get a roommate in the first place, it is a hidden cost to keep in mind when you live on your own.
Living by yourself has many advantages, and being aware of the hidden costs can help you save money in the long run. Think of all the wonderful things you can do with the money saved, such as get out of debt or start a business.